The New Deal
by Gil Scott-Heron
I have believed in my convictions
And have been convicted for my beliefs
Conned by the Constitution
And harassed by the police.
I have been billed for the Bill of Rights And treated like I was wrong.
I have become a special amendment
For what included me all along.
Like: “All men are created equal.”
(No amendment need there).
I’ve contributed in every field including cotton From Sunset Strip to Washington Square.
Back during the non-violent era,
Hell, I was the only non-violent one.
As a matter of fact there was no non-violence ‘cause too many rednecks had guns.
There seems to have been this pattern
That a lot of folks failed to pick up on But all black leaders who dared to stand up Wuz in jail, in the courtroom, or gone.
Picked up indiscriminately
By the shocktroops of discrimination
To end up in jails or tied up in trials
While dirty tricks soured the nation.
I’ve been hoodwinked by professional hoods.
My ego has happened to me.
“It’ll be alright, just keep things cool!
And take the people off the street.
We’ll settle this all at the conference table.
You just leave everything to me.”
Which gets me back to my convictions
And being convicted for my beliefs
‘cause I believe these smiles
in three-piece suits
with gracious, liberal demeanor
took our movement off the streets
and took us to the cleaners.
In other words, we let up the pressure
And that was all part of their plan
And everyday we allow to slip through our fingers Is playing right into their hands.